Culture and the Cardinal Mindset, Dr. Vanessa Shannon, Director of Mental Performance for University of Louisville Athletics

Dr. Vanessa Shannon is the Director of Mental Performance for University of Louisville Athletics and Norton Sports Health. As a former NCAA Division 1 volleyball player, she understands the challenges associated with balancing performance in the classroom and performance in sport.

Prior to Louisville, Dr. Shannon spent two years at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida where she served as a mental conditioning coach, coordinated psychological test preparation for the NFL Combine Training Program, and served as a Vision Training Coach for the Major League Baseball Off-Season Training Program.

Dr. Shannon began her career in academia where she spent 3 years as Department Chair of Exercise and Sport Sciences at Tennessee Wesleyan University and 5 years as a faculty member in the Sport and Exercise Psychology Program at West Virginia University. She holds a PhD in Applied Sport Psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a MS in Exercise Psychology from Kansas State University, and BAs in Health and Human Performance and Psychology from Rice University.

In this interview, Vanessa and Cindra talk about:

  • Vanessa’s definition of culture and how she helps teams develop culture
  • Why we must consider behavior to build culture
  • Her 8 Principles of the Cardinal Mindset
  • How the best performers think
  • Why asking yourself the questions, “What do you want and what are you willing to do to get there?” are essential to consider


You can find more about Vanessa’s work on twitter @DrHeadStrong or email her at and Cindra on Twitter at @Mentally_Strong.



“Failure is a part of life and it’s an acceptable thing and it happens to everyone and anyone.”@DrHeadStrong
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“Culture is about who you are and what you do. Specifically, values and behaviors. Who we are is what we value and what we believe in and what we know and what we stand for and ultimately what we do is about specific behaviors that demonstrate those values.”@DrHeadStrong
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“The way you do anything is the way you do everything.” @DrHeadStrong
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“It’s acceptable to ask for help. You don’t have to do everything by yourself.”@DrHeadStrong
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“We want to make sure that we are the driver of our thoughts.”@DrHeadStrong
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